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Jonathan sets up fact-finding committee on abducted Chibok girls

By The Citizen
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President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday set up a fact-finding committee headed by Brig General Ibrahim Sabo to provide government with accurate information concerning the girls of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, who were abducted on April 15.

The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, disclosed this to State House correspondents after a meeting summoned by the President to review security situation in the country, particularly the latest bombing at Nyanya and the girls' abduction.

Maku was joined at the briefing by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe; Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba; spokesperson for the State Security Service, Marilyn Ogar and the Director, Defence Information, Chris Olukolade.

The minister said some of the inconsistencies that the government was not pleased with were the number of affected schoolgirls as well as their current location, among others.

He, however, added that the inconsistencies had so far not hampered rescue operations.

He said members of the committee included security agencies, civil society organisations, international organisations and other stakeholders.

Maku said during the meeting attended by Vice President Namadi Sambo, Minister of Defence, Gen. Aliyu Gusau (retd.) service chiefs and heads of security agencies, the President received updates on the second Nyanya bombing, the ongoing search for the Chibok girls, and efforts made so far to deal with related incidents of insecurity and terrorism in the country.

On the latest bomb explosion in Nyanya, the minister said the President directed security chiefs to increase surveillance and expedite investigation into the explosion to ensure that those behind the act are arrested and brought to justice.

According to him, Jonathan also gave instructions for additional proactive measures by security agencies to enhance public safety.

This, he said, included increased public awareness for citizens to step up their cooperation with security agencies by reporting suspected activities and persons likely to cause a breach of public peace, safety and security.

On the kidnapped girls, the minister said security chiefs briefed the meeting on efforts so far made to locate and rescue them and bring the perpetrators to justice.

He said, 'Extensive and intensive aerial surveillance by the Air Force has been carried out in all the routes leading into and out of Chibok up to the Chad and Cameroun borders. Other parts of Borno and Adamawa states are also under the searchlight.

'Every information relayed to security agencies has so far been investigated, including the search of all places suspected as a possible hide-away of the kidnapped girls.

'The police, backed up by the military and DSS, have combed and are still combing all reported places that the girls might have been taken to.

'In view of the inconsistent and contradictory information available to government on the Chibok abduction, the President has set up a fact-finding committee comprising security agencies, civil society, international organisations and other stakeholders.

'The President commiserates with the families of the deceased in the latest bombing at Nyanya, and empathises with all those who were injured in the incident.  He has also directed full medical treatment for the victims at government expense.

'The President also shares in the pain and anguish of the parents and guardians of the Chibok girls abducted by the terrorists. The President's heart goes out to these our unfortunate daughters who have had to endure the trauma of abduction and separation from their loved ones.  The government and people of Nigeria stand solidly by them.'

Maku also quoted Jonathan as appealing to the parents, guardians, relations of the girls and members of the public to furnish security agencies with all the information that will assist in their rescue.

The Committee which scheduled to be inaugurated on the 6th of May has the following as members:

(i)         Brig. General Ibrahim A. Sabo (Rtd.)                                              -           Chairman

(ii)        Barrister Femi Falana, SAN                                                             -          Member

(iii)       Hajia Hawa Ibrahim                                                                          -           Member

(iv)       Hajia Fatima Kwaku                                                                          -           Member

(v)        2 representatives of National Council of Women  Societies (NCWS)    -           Member

(vi)       2 representatives of the All        one whom shall be a female  Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS)    -         Member

(vii)      2 representatives of the National  Parents Teachers Association  – member

(viii)     2 representatives of the Nigeria Police                  '                       -           Member

(ix)       2 representatives of the State Security Service                           -           Member

(x)        2 representatives of the Nigerian Army                                         -           Member

(xi)       2 representatives of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)                                                  '                       -          Member

(xii)      1 Representative of the Federal Ministry of Information (who shall be the Committees' Spokesperson)       -           Member

(xiii)     1 Representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice                     -           Member

(xiv)     3 Representatives of Borno State Government

(two of whom, preferably, shall be women)                                               -           Member

(xv)      1 Representative of the United Nations                                         -           Member

(xvi)     1 Representative of ECOWAS (who shall be a woman)              -           Member

(xvii)    Permanent Secretary (Special Services Office) OSGF                -           Secretary